Fifteen times Grammy Award-winning and controversial rapper, Eminem dropped his eleventh studio album Music To Be Murdered By in a surprise release. Alongside his newly released album, the rapper also dropped the music video for his new song ‘Darkness’, which depicts him taking on the role of Stephen Paddock, the mass murderer who claimed the lives of 60 people, as well as his own, and wounded over 800 during a Las Vegas music festival in 2017.
The video ends with Eminem watching a bank of TV screens with news footage recounting not just the Las Vegas shooting but other mass shootings that have happened around the US within the last four years. As the video ends, the US flag is shown upholding the message: “When will it end?” followed by the answer “When enough people care,” leaving us with a clear call-to-action urging Americans to register to vote so that we may “make our voice be heard and change gun laws in America.”
The fact is that President Trump chooses to turn a blind eye to the growing gun violence that continues to plague the US. His silence teeters the line of support as his infamous campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ is used as the premise for the pro-gun protesters and their cause.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence,” said Trump in response to the El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio mass shootings in 2019. My answer, and many will agree with me, is no, Mr President, video games are not the ones to blame. The real problem lies in the fact that it is too easy for mentally incompetent beings to obtain firearms, thanks to you scrapping a federal rule imposed by former President Barack Obama.
Science shows there is no direct link between video games and mass violence. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in 2017, the year Trump was inaugurated into office, there were nearly 40,000 gun-related deaths—the highest it’s been in 50 years. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Trump failing to denounce white nationalism and declare it as a threat to national security and the violence that it produces is why we can no longer ignore his role in this growing epidemic. Not when shooters like Crusius (who was responsible for the El Paso attack) wrote and released a four-page manifesto that was full of hateful rhetoric and ideologies that have augmented under Trump. Crusius’ manifesto ‘justified’ this imminent attack as “a reply to the Hispanic invasion,” alleging Democrats of “pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc” and fenced against “traitors” while condemning “race-mixing and interracial unions.”
Additional statistics released by the FBI in late 2018 showed that hate crimes in the US rose by 17 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year. Approximately 7,175 hate crimes were reported and committed in 2017 and of those provoked by hatred over race and ethnicity, nearly half involved African-Americans and about 10 per cent were anti-Hispanic.
When it comes to intense political debates, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) provided more distinct results. Researchers found that in August 2017, the month of the violent brawl amid white-supremacists and counter-protestors in Charlottesville—when Trump infamously noted there were “very fine people on both sides”—hate crimes increased to 663 incidents, the second-highest tally in nearly a decade.
On 15 March 2019, a far-right gunman murdered 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. The gunman left behind a document identifying Muslim immigrants as “invaders” and Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Can you see the pattern?
In a tweet following a Trump rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, Barack Obama stated: “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” This came as a response to someone yelling out “shoot them” after Trump posed the question, “How do you stop these people?” in a conversation about border patrol.
Trump is what’s wrong with gun control. As the poster boy for white nationalism, he continues to renege pledges and rollback on restrictions while ignoring the Democratic’s call for tougher restrictions. His lack of accountability, his chosen sense of ignorance and his hate-filled rhetoric is a growing tumour that needs to be removed, and I haven’t even mentioned his climate change denial. His refusal to acknowledge fascism and the surge in white nationalist terrorism makes him an accomplice to murder and its perpetrators.
Until Trump holds himself and the modern-day Klansmen responsible for the violence that has become commonplace in the US since the day of his inauguration, he and his ‘brotherhood’ will continue to pose as an imminent threat to the citizens, more specifically to the minorities, of these ‘United States’. So come on Mr President, let’s put those Twitter fingers to good use—speak love, not hate.
“In the beautiful Midwest,” tweeted the beautiful U.S. president, “Windchilll temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest never recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!”
Prior to delving into the hypocrisy of the president and his fellow climate-change denying billionaires, it is important to set the record straight and debunk the misleading insinuation he makes in his tweet, according to which the chilling temperatures in Midwestern U.S.A. indicate that climate change is in fact a Chinese hoax.
As highlighted repeatedly by scientists, weather and climate are two separate things. Climate constitutes the long-term behavior of the atmosphere, while weather refers to its characteristics over a short period of time. This means that while the overall climate of the planet is warming, and winters gradually heat up, we are still due to experience dips in temperatures at specific points in time, only these will gradually become more and more infrequent.
In a New York Times piece, Kendra Pierre-Louis provides the perfect analogy to highlight this point, stating that, “Weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, anymore than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich. What matters is what happens over the long term.”
Among the countless entities attempting to obliterate the myth regarding this cold spell is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In a statement from January 30, NOAA explains that the drastic fall in temperatures is linked to the polar vortex, which today tends to more frequently escape the Arctic and dip south towards the continental United States due to moisture and warm air that alter the movement of the jet stream.
Yet, as stated before, we can expect less and less of these blasts of frigid temperatures and anticipate more heat waves, as long as CO2 emissions into the atmosphere continue to rise. According to a 2009 study, for instance, since 2000 there were twice as many record high temperatures than record lows recorded in the United States, compared to the 1950s, when the two were more or less equal. Even now, as portions of the northern hemisphere experience a brief chill, other parts of the world, such as Australia, face record-high temperature spikes.
The bitter irony is that Trump knows full well the danger and imminence of climate change; he, most certainly, does not believe the statements he blasts on Twitter. This can be indicated by the lengths he goes to protect his own properties in areas affected by global warming. In 2017, for instance, Trump International Golf Links obtained authorisation to construct a wall around the president’s golf course in Doonbeg, Clare County and Ireland. What was one of the primary reasons cited to justify the request for the wall? Rising sea levels resulting from climate change of course.
The U.S. president is not the only billionaire actively engaging in climate change denial while covering his own ass, and, most importantly, maximising profits. Recent evidence indicates, for instance, that the oil giant Exxon Mobile has been aware of climate change and the role the fossil fuel industry plays in creating it since 1977, following thorough research conducted by their own company. But instead of taking meaningful action against it, the company chose to squeeze whatever value it can from the dying planet, while establishing the Global Climate Coalition, which for decades has been questioning scientific research regarding climate change, thwarting governmental initiatives to curb emissions, and launching smear campaigns against politicians who promote climate policy.
Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal contributed a fortune to Seasteading Institute, which sought to build floating cities due to rising sea levels. Hotel chains are teaming up with food production companies to profit off of those fleeing from natural disasters, and banks, such as JP Morgan, are coming up with special loans designated to protect properties of people living in coastal areas.
And so the next time Trump or any other billionaire or corporations chime in to the roaring cacophony of climate change denial (or pay other figures to do so on their behalf), it is important to not only debunk their statements with actual science, but also alert the public to the fact that the most vocal among these climate change deniers are also the most diligent in preparing for it. We must call a spade a spade and recognise climate change for what it has truly become for the powerful and wealthy: a steadily rising and terribly promising market.